- Ready for U
- Dear My Friend 2018
- Stop Sign
- Face Off
- Milk Tea
- Only You -Korean Version- (bonus track)
As the opening to the album, Glory was of course chosen to promote the album and it easily sounds like a happy-go-lucky Xmas track because of the album coming out close to the holiday. Granted, knowing this is sung with the 4 members, I was rather not surprised they chose a happier pop track to open the album, but a holiday song? This doesn’t feel quite right and maybe could’ve been put elsewhere. It’s nice to hear Jun sing more (actually he and Kiseop have a lot of solos here). Still, it’s just a generic Merry Christmas song and bizarre to open this album with.
Which is made more bizarre with the only A-side released before the album coming in with its poppy and funky sound. As this is the first single with the 4 members, I was curious to see how the group could work without Kevin and Soohyun and they’ve somehow survived it with some pretty awesome vocals from Hoon, Kiseop, and Jun who has taken more of a vocal rap and less than a 2nd rapper to Eli who still sounds great still. It’s a pretty fun track overall and gave me some hope for the rest of the album (sans “Glory”).
3. Ready For U
Then we slow things down for Ready For U which I thought was the least ballad-like title on the album! Not sure where I want to stand because U-KISS doesn’t have the strongest ballads in their catalogue and this is one of the more forgettable ones for them. I will admit their vocals are flighty and very pretty to listen to. Though not sure if I wanted a rap from Eli & Jun though. Though Kiseop is impressing me a LOT in this song! Though come to find out, this is a Japanese version of a 2017 Korean digital single they released (of course resung it due to Soohyun’s hiatus and language shift).
4. Dear My Friend 2018
Seems weird that they’ve brought this song back (the group’s 3rd A-side in Japan) and updated it. It just feels odd that they decided to bring this one back considering most of the members involved in it are gone or on hiatus (Dongho, AJ, Kevin, and Soohyun). Even worse is that they turned this rather upbeat, sentimental pop tune into a straight-up ballad is just not good. While the remaining members sound nice, the new line distribution feels lacking somehow. Also once again rap line is awkward.
Then we move into the B-side from the “SCANDAL” single, Chair and unlike its upbeat A-side, Chair takes it down a notch and gives us a rather sensual love-making kind of jam that really sticks out to me as its something U-KISS hasn’t done in Japan, well not that I remember at least. Definitely one of the better songs for the album.
6. Stop Sign
So this is where the album goes into its smaller groupings starting with Stop Sign which is first of 2 between Eli & Jun. I was pretty surprised to hear such an aggressive rock sound covering this song since it really throws the flow of the album around. Of course I hear Jun a lot more because he’s singing and rapping whereas Eli is fully doing the raps. I guess the push from Jun being in UNB is helping this push. I kind of enjoyed this track mostly because it’s something a bit different than what the rest of the album has to offer.
On the other hand we have Hoon & Kiseop for two tracks, but their songs are bolded because the two tracks were released as a physical single earlier in the year. I was happy to see that this song wasn’t a ballad, at least not in the sappy way. There’s a low bass throughout and an unsettling feel to both vocalists and it grows into an interesting chorus that seems to have a light dubstep flow to it. It’s pretty interesting of a song and I thought was going to be another bland ballad.
8. Face Off
Another Eli and Jun duet, it’s a little surprising that the two tracks they have are so aggressive (the only two). Actually they’re kind of rather similar to one another with raps and then Jun starts singing but I feel this song does better to showcase the two in a bit more light (and doing their thing in English). It’s also a bit more powerful and dramatic too. Though it does feel slightly forced (and the English lines are slightly cringy). I suppose it’s decent, just was hoping for something different.
9. Milk Tea
Yup, I knew one of the songs that Kiseop and Hoon did would be a softer song. Milk Tea though sounds very soundscape-y mostly due to the echo filter that was placed on the duo and it seems like something I could’ve lived without, luckily the chorus mostly fixes it on occasion but the mid-tempo feel is calming, but rather zones me out too.
The album closes out with another ballad in Sunset and this is just your typical piano/strings ballad. Fair enough, it’s appropriate as the album’s finisher but it’s just so bland to me and there’s so many of these in their discography. Great vocals as per usual and hearing Jun & Kiseop taking part is great, but yeah no this song is just white noise.
11. Only You -Korean Version-
What in the world is the reasoning for this inclusion? This is a song from all the way back in 2014 (part of a weird release, something about barcodes and scanning it from clothes to hear it?). It did come with a PV though so it’s really weird to see this here because this is when AJ & Kevin were still in the group and before Jun joined. It just bothers me that it’s NOW that they’re releasing it (and more strange on a Japanese album). The tune also does not sound like anything else on the album being more dance-pop (K-pop of course). Just really absurdly random to see it here.
- Face Off
Song of Avoidance
I will start off saying that Glory is at least much better than “LINK” was with a little more new material, but I still feel that they’re not lacking cohesiveness on this album and just the idea of this album felt farfetched (what with a leading Christmas song as the opening, bringing (and updating) random old songs (Ready For U, Dear My Friend, Only You) and two random rock songs just to fit the rappers…it was a mess of an album, but not terrible.